Looking at LinuxCNC (EMC2) or Mach 3 so far. Some aspects of the software may limit or modify our plans so feel free to discuss the software here.
I posted some stuff in the drawing area as well. The idea was to create a machine set up, which can do foam wing hot wire cutting with 4 axis, than use all machine parts to assemble a router/mill using dual Y-axis motors in master slave mode and then re-place the router with an extruder head to do 3D printing.
On my search for suitable (cheap) driver boards and software I came across these inexpensive driver boards out of China http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/CNC-4-Axis-Stepper-Motor-Dr...
which worked for me out of the box. With the choices of EMC2 and Mach3, I decided to use Windows based as all my other design and analytical software are Windows based.
From here on I searched for other (free) software allowing to convert 3D models into G-code, like PyCam or Freemill http://www.mecsoft.com/. I also use CamBam plus, which is free up to 40 trials and LazyCam, which comes free with Mach 3. Some other choices are here http://www.freecad.com/CAM_Programs/
It may come down to personal choices of CAM software, but I fear with free software you get, what you pay for. The cheapest software, which does what I like is this one http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectric/cut3d/c3d_features.htm
I'm getting a bit off the control software topic. However, control software and CAM software should be considered together.
New to the group but have built 3 cnc's.
If you are looking for cheap driver boards for 4 axis look here... now with these cheap boards you will be limited in the size of the steppers (~3A) you can drive and thus be limited in the the size and speed of your router.
I have used the HobbyCNC setup but have changed to Gecko's as you get what you pay for (7A).
In terms of CAM I use VCarve Pro for 2.5D and Cut 3D for 3D... they are among the best products I have ever used and would highly recommend them.
Let me know if you have questions.
I had another look at EMC2/LinuxCNC and find a few things, which make me not to switch from Mach3.
EMC2 does not have master-slave axis. Looking at the CNCzone forum, people suggest to rewire the parallel port to run two motors in sync. Mach 3 allows master slave axis.
I may step in to issues with post processors not providing the right G-code for CNC mill, hot wire foam cutting and 3D print.
I wrote and published already some manuals using Mach 3
EMC2 appears to be more complicated for people just starting to get into CNC
Here is an example of a tapered wing with a hot wire cut set up:
However, EMC2 can use rotary axis, BLDC motors and encoder feed-back.
Do you know how to rotate the model? Does it have to be oriented before importing?
Else, I believe a 3D printer draws more attraction to this community than a CNC mill/router.
Entire planes can be 3D printed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRDg4UB9Ajg
Sorry. I'm not sure. I haven't worked with it much since I don't have a printer yet. The guy who wrote it has been really fast in responding to my questions though.
no problem. I went back to the drawing program and oriented the part to the X/Y plane. I also realized that the extruder motor speed in KISS can be controlled via M function as if it would do the spindle speed on a CNC mill. It may work just fine.
So far, I'm doing only dry-runs with my CNC machine. I built an extruder and I should get the ABS filament shipment any day now. What I already like better in slic3R is that the extruder motor turns reverse, when the head moves over a hole, which I believe prevents stringing. You may want to ask the software developer of KISS if there is a problem by extruding with a set speed instead of stepper increments.
See here from a slic3R output file how A increases to press out molten material but at G0 (moving fast over a hole) it pulls material back by a mm:
G1 X82.936 Y101.069 A8.44244
G1 X83.003 Y100.885 A8.44822
G1 X83.093 Y100.693 A8.45446
G1 X83.202 Y100.511 A8.46068
G1 X83.328 Y100.340 A8.46694
G1 X83.418 Y100.241 A8.47087
G0 X111.754 Y100.698 F1800.000 A7.47087
G1 X111.975 Y100.698 F540.000 A8.47736
G1 X112.051 Y100.488 A8.48391
G1 X112.183 Y100.208 A8.49302
BTW at the end of the program it used up exactly 696.9 mm filament
G1 X121.326 Y90.594 A697.89770
G1 X121.053 Y90.106 A697.91413
G1 X121.350 Y89.809 A697.92648
G0 Z5.200 F1800.000 A696.92648
M104 S0 ; turn off temperature
G28 X0 ; home X axis
M84 ; disable motors
; filament used = 696.9mm (4.9cm3)